Deceptive fund raising
Unfortunately, its brilliance lay in its deceptiveness, so I left my wallet closed and round-filed the mailer.
The mailer comprised a cover letter, four-page survey, and postpaid return envelope. The letter begged me to complete the survey, which a letter for this sort of mailing should do. I noted, however, that the letter did its best to bias me, even before I started into the survey. This didn’t call into question the validity of the survey. It blew it to smithereens.
On to the “survey.” Each question listed an outrage and pretty much asked, “On a scale of 1 to 4, how much do you agree that such-and-such is terrible?” The final question at the bottom of Page 3 asked, in essence, “Will you donate right now to help stop the above crap you just told us you think is terrible?” The entirety of Page 4 consisted of a contribution form.
In short, it was no survey. It was an anchoring device designed to put me in a donating frame of mind.
There’s nothing wrong with surveys. There’s nothing wrong with anchoring. There is everything wrong with disguising an anchoring device as a survey. I set out thinking that my opinion mattered, and that by sharing it I was helping out the sponsor. Nope. I was being hustled.
Sad thing is, I wholly support the organization. That’s why I’m withholding their name. Moreover, it wouldn’t surprise me if this strategy is something an outside direct mail consultant talked them into. I will, however, send them a link to this post. I hope they’ll do better in the future.
I bet the mailer raises a lot of money.